by Mike Ratliff
But he is unchangeable, and who can turn him back? What he desires, that he does. (Job 23:13)
“I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” (Job 42:2)
For I know that the Lord is great, and that our Lord is above all gods.
Whatever the Lord pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps. (Psalm 135:5-6)
What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Romans 3:9-18)
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9)
There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death. (Proverbs 14:12)
Humanism: A system of thought that centers on humans and their values, capacities, and worth; the doctrine emphasizing a person’s capacity for self-realization through reason
Reformed Theology – the theological system which emphasizes the omnipotence of God and salvation by grace alone
If you haven’t done so already, please prayerfully read the scripture I have placed at the beginning of this chapter as well as the definitions for “Humanism” and “Reformed Theology.”
God is sovereign. He is omnipotent. He is perfect. He is Holy. He is Just. He is immutable. That means He does not change. He spoke His truth at the beginning of creation and that truth is still the truth now and will be for all eternity. God said in Isaiah 55:8-9 that His thoughts and ways are not as ours are. In fact His thoughts and ways are infinitely higher than ours. When I say “ours” I am speaking of all mankind. There are no exceptions. God said this to Isaiah and Isaiah wrote it down. It is given to us in the Bible which is the perfect Word of God.
Take those statements and compare them with Romans 3:9-18. Now who has a problem? Is it God or is it Man? All men, women and children are sinners. All descendants of Adam are sinners. We are born sinners. Sin lives in us. It separates us from God who is Holy and Perfect. Many claim that this gap between Man and God is easily bridged by good men exercising their Free Will to choose to accept God’s offer of grace. However, the Word of God says something very different.
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:1-10)
This word “dead” in this passage is the Greek word “Nekros.” It can mean natural death, but of course that meaning would be ludicrous in this context. In this passage the meaning is clear. Paul was telling us that the natural, unsaved person’s soul is separated from the enlivening influences of divine light and spirit as a dead body is separated from the material light and air. The spiritual condition of a lost person, an unregenerate person, is one of death. There is no spiritual capability in them. They are completely controlled by their soul while their spirit is cutoff from God because of the presence of sin.
What is the solution? Look again at Ephesians 2:1-10. While we were in our sins God provided a way for hopelessly lost people to be saved. Is it by those lost people choosing to be saved? The humanist says that man is smart enough to make that decision through reason. However, the Bible says the opposite. No one seeks after God. No one seeks after righteousness. So how do sinful people get saved?
Salvation is by grace through faith. That salvation is a gift of God. It is not of works. Boasting is excluded. (Romans 3:27) Therefore, this act of acquiring saving faith must come about by some means that excludes Man’s ability to boast about it. However, if it is by choice then all saved people can boast. They can say that they made the right decision while lost people haven’t. There must be something in them that is superior to those who are still in their sins. Therefore, that form of salvation is in serious conflict with scripture. Salvation, to be biblical, must come about in such a way that excludes the possibility of saved people being able to boast about it.
Humanism says that God made the universe and provided salvation for the happiness of Man. After all, everything God does is for the happiness of Man isn’t it? Since God does all of this for Man’s happiness then salvation must be a reward to those who choose to do right so they can be happy. Is this Biblical? I can’t find that scenario anywhere in scripture.
Humanism says that the end of all things is for the happiness of Man. However, the Bible says that God does everything for His own glory. Why did He provide this gracious salvation for sinful men? Was it to make Humanism true? Was it to make Man happy? Or was it to bring God glory? It is for God’s glory alone.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:3-14)
God did not leave salvation of Men up to Men. Why? If it was left up to Men then no one could be saved. Remember Romans 3. No one seeks after God. No one does right. It would never happen. Therefore, God chose or elected all of His people before creation. He looked into the future and foreknew or fore-loved His people. He placed His affection and purpose on them. Why? Was it because they deserved it? No, remember, no one deserves salvation. That is why salvation must be by grace alone.
God elected His people and predestined that they should be conformed unto the image of His Son. What criteria did He use? This decision was according to the counsel of His will and it was to the praise of His glory. Therefore, this salvation plan would be His work alone. If not then how could it be for His glory alone?
This salvation would accomplish the forgiveness of the elect’s sins. Of course we know that the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross as the Lamb of God accomplished this. It bought the salvation of the elect. How does an elect sinner get saved?
For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. (Romans 8:29-30)
God has commanded believers to preach the Gospel. This presenting of the Gospel is used by the Holy Spirit to plow the heart of the elect. This preaching is the general call of the Gospel. However, no one is saved until the Holy Spirit makes the call Effectual to them. That is the calling mentioned in Romans 8:29-30. This is the actual regeneration of the heart of a person. This regeneration changes a spiritually dead person into a new creation. This new creation can now respond to the Gospel. This regeneration enables the new believer to see their utter lostness before a Holy and Just God. They see their sin and their unworthiness before Him. In light of this he or she believes and repents. God then immediately justifies them. This is Justification by Faith. This is the same as God declaring Abraham righteous because He believed God. God follows our justification with adoption into His family and begins the sanctification process which prepares us for glorification in eternity.
Why did I go through all of that? I wanted to contrast what the Bible teaches about salvation with how the Compromised Church does it. Humanism has so penetrated the Church to the point where it has been glossed and covered over with the doctrines of Men. It sounds Biblical. It sounds “Churchy.” Here are a few examples. “Try Jesus! You’ve done things your way long enough. Put Jesus in your life so it will be better! Ask Jesus to come into your heart so that you won’t go to Hell.”
The genuine Gospel presentation that the Holy Spirit uses to prepare the Hearts of those He will effectually call contrasts God’s Holiness and Righteousness and Justice with Man’s sinfulness and spiritual bankruptcy. The Compromised Church’s version of the Gospel is more like a sales pitch. It is geared to making salvation appealing to lost people by making it cheap. The Genuine Gospel is costly. Jesus said that to be His disciple we have to deny self and take up our cross and follow Him. That means dying to self. That is costly grace. The cheap grace of the Compromised Church does not even mention repentance or the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
What is the end result of this? Those who are saved by the genuine Gospel are God’s Elect who have regenerated hearts and are new creations. Those who think they are saved by the easy-believism of the Compromised Church are simply religious. There has been no regenerative work in their hearts. They are not genuine.
Humanism’s god is Man. The humanists may acknowledge God, but only as a means to an end. Their version of Christianity is not Biblical. It is full of fleshly and worldly ways. It is more for entertainment rather than for God’s glory alone. Since the Holy Spirit is not in it they must counterfeit His presence with High Octane music and false spirituality that is nothing more than people being emotional.
The Genuine Church’s God is God Almighty, the Living God. He will be no one’s means to and end. He is the end of all things. Those who know Him will be those He has elected, called, regenerated, justified, adopted, sanctified and glorified. Their worship of God is in Spirit and Truth. They are not perfect, but are growing in grace and maturity according to God’s will.
The Compromised Church is not of God. Even though these churches may say they are serving and worshipping God, they are, in fact, serving Man. They may be very entertaining and appealing places of worship, but that is because they are geared to appeal to the flesh. Genuine worship of the Living God never appeals to the flesh. Instead, it is God focused. It reveals what God has done or it emphasizes His attributes. In contrast the worship in the Compromised Church focuses on what people do or have done or what benefit they get from their religion.
We will look at this in more depth in later chapters. Please examine yourself. Are you part of the Compromised Church or are you a genuine believer saved by the sovereign grace of God? Take your concerns to the Lord in prayer.
Oh Lord God–You are Holy, Righteous and Perfect. You are Just. You are the living God and your are Sovereign. You will be no one’s means to an end. Instead you are the end of all things. You are worthy. Oh Lord, cleanse your Church. Separate your people from the Compromised Church. Take your Remnant and use them for your Glory alone. In Jesus’ name – Amen!
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version™ Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. All rights reserved.